Michael Schumacher’s former manager Willi Weber said his F1 comeback was “stupid”, but he wouldn’t listen.
The seven-time World Champion retired at the end of the 2006 season, and with him he took the greatest legacy in Formula 1 history after winning seven World Championships and 91 races.
He had been scheduled to return to the sport in 2009 though with Ferrari to stand in for the injured Felipe Massa, before an injury of his own stopped Schumacher from going through with that storybook reunion.
It came as a huge shock though when he was announced as a driver for the revived Mercedes works team for 2010, signing a three-year deal.
It was a huge risk to take and in the end Schumacher added only one further podium to his resume, that coming at the 2012 European Grand Prix at the age of 43, making him the oldest driver to make it onto the podium since Jack Brabham at the 1970 British Grand Prix.
The German would retire from F1 again at the end of that season.
But this comeback was done without his long-term manager Weber who said he had tried to talk Schumacher out of a comeback, but to no avail.
Speaking to Motorsport-Total.com, he said: “Let’s say, this was, even in hindsight, the stupidest thing he could do.
“He told me he was bored, he had to drive.
“Then I say, ‘Michael, what do you want? You can only lose. You can’t win anymore. You won everything. You are the best racer in the world. You stand on the highest pedestal that exists. You can only lose now.’
“But, he just didn’t want to hear it.”
Weber revealed that he himself didn’t want to commit to the demands of an F1 season again, but that still didn’t convince Schumacher to stay away from F1.
“The second thing was, that after the years of being in Formula One, I didn’t want to pack more suitcases, didn’t want to have jet lag anymore, didn’t want to sit on the plane for 24 hours. That was all too much for me,” he said.
“I imagined all this and offered him that I would not take part in overseas races, but I would take care of him in Europe.
“Then he kept coming back and saying, ‘Willi, I thought about it, I’m doing it on my own. I’ll do it all myself.’
“I said, ‘Michael, that’s a huge mistake, too. Let it be!’ ‘No, no, I’m doing that. If you don’t go along, I’ll do it myself.’ ”
Weber then, he says, suggested: “If you absolutely want to, let’s go apart as friends.”
Schumacher went on to make his comeback, and even though Weber was initially still at a few races, he soon withdrew completely from Formula One.
But they remained on good terms, and Weber said he took no satisfaction at all in seeing Schumacher’s comeback fail as he had predicted.
“On the contrary,” he said.
Adding that they continued to “see each other often” and had “a lot of phone calls”.